The National Autistic Society (NAS) is, today, celebrating a crucial win for the half a million children and adults with autism in the UK.
In response to political pressure from Cheryl Gillan MP’s Autism Bill, the government announced new measures that, when fully implemented, could help to address the shocking lack of autism services which leaves people affected by the condition feeling isolated, ignored and often at breaking point.
Cheryl Gillan MP said; “It was critically important to me that my Private Members’ Bill should cover an area that ordinarily would be overlooked – today’s announcement is a testament to the weight of support from my colleagues and autism campaigners.
"Without the right help autism can have a profound and sometimes devastating effect, so I will keep campaigning until I hear the government pledge to fully support people affected by autism in Parliament. The real test will be in how they implement this package of measures in the long term.”
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS said; “The failure of many local authorities to recognise the needs of people with autism made it absolutely necessary to try and create an autism law. Today, thanks to the overwhelming level of support galvanised by Cheryl Gillan MP’s Autism Bill from our campaigners, across all the political parties and the 15 other autism charities we have been working with; we have achieved our major political goals.
"This is a landmark victory which could also have a far wider reaching impact on others in the disabled community. We warmly welcome the announcement and look forward to hearing the government categorically reaffirm their commitment to transforming the lives of people affected by autism when the bill is debated in Parliament on the 27 February.”
Proposals announced by the government respond to demands made by Cheryl Gillan’s Autism Bill which will, when fully introduced, hold local authorities legally accountable if they do not provide appropriate support for children and adults with autism.
Mark Lever added; “The NAS would like to thank Cheryl Gillan MP, the 6,000 people who emailed their MP and all the MPs who pledged their support for the bill.”